"Urinetown:" The Union Station Edition

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Last night was Bizarro World. I Metro'd out to Silver Spring for a local band's performance at Austin Grille, which is more of a Tex Mex restaurant than it is a concert venue. Also, it's about a 30-minute ride away.

One of my biggest public transportation fears is of being stranded on the Metro when I have to use a restroom. When I lived in Glenmont in Fall 2007 (so long ago!), I lived in anxious anticipation of this scenario coming true, especially because I have a child-like bladder (a.k.a. I have to go every 20 minutes); luckily for me, it's never come to fruition.

Until last night. On the way home from Maryland, my greatest Metro fear came true. I actually had to get off the train at Union Station to find someplace to relieve myself. This is how it went my 16-minute adventure went down from there:

  • I run off the train & note that I have 16 minutes until the next one comes, which means I've got very little time to accomplish my relief goal before missing another train - very late at night.
  • Literally running, I enter the almost-empty (& fully creepy) Union Station food court, where I am beyond dismayed to discover that the doors leading to the hallway where the bathrooms reside are closed. The sign reads, "Bathrooms Closed. Additional restrooms at Gate G." I haven't the foggiest where Gate G is, but it sounds far: I ain't got the time, & I sure ain't got the control.
  • As I prepare to test out the truthfulness of the sign, a girl bursts out from behind said closed doors, laughing, & yells, "Do not go in there! I mean it! Don't go in there!" and runs away.
  • I go in there.
  • Detecting the sound of running water, I notice that a guy immediately to the right of the doors is peeing on the wall outside the locked men's restroom. Disgusted, I ignore him & keep running down the hall.
  • As I enter a cul-se-sac at the hallway's end, I am shocked to discover at least six guys peeing on the wall outside the locked women's restroom.
  • I try the restroom door anyway. It's locked.
  • Feeling like I just walked into some horrifying fetish sex scene, I flee the hallway & don't stop running until I get to the movie theater.
  • I beg a women who doesn't appear to work for the theater (?!) to let me use the restroom. She agrees (probably because she don't work there), & I take care of business.
  • Upon exiting, I thank the woman & turn to a security guard who's hanging out on a folding chair. "Are you the security guard for this theater or for the whole food court?" I ask him. He's the former.
  • Regardless, he's as horrified by the story of men peeing the walls as I am & thus accompanies me down the hall & we part ways at the bathroom hallway, where he bravely makes his way into the urine-tainted corridor.
  • I run back to the Metro. I have six minutes to spare, most of which are spent recounting my terrible story to the friend who's waiting on me.
So many things are wrong with this story. The first peeing man should've scared me away, but he didn't; the second through sixth peeing men should've scared me away but they didn't. I guess you gotta do what you gotta do when nature calls, but I still feel pretty filthy about this entire experience.

Moral of the story: The further the distance, the fewer the beers I should drink.


  1. Yikes!!! now, imagine being pregnant in this story; minus the beers and you'd be dry heaving at the first sight of a man peeing on the wall! the second would have made you spew! Maybe I should reconsider visiting DC in the summer?!?!? lol.

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  3. Ga-ross. I read this and my old friend worry (about you) pounces on me... You do have hand sanitizer with you at all times, right? lu

  4. Y'know, even during the day, that hall at Union Station is a little skeevy, and now I know why. Ew. Ew. Eweweweweweweweww

  5. LOL that sucks. Those bathrooms there are nasty indeed. I'm glad the security guard walked you back to towards the train though.

    Next time ask the station manager on duty (inside the lil booth near the turnstyles). Metro has public bathrooms at most stations. If you ask the station manager, he/she will unlock the door and allow you to use it.

    They don't widely publicize this, but stations with public bathrooms are indicated as such on bathroom doors via small signs.

  6. I had to do this same thing one Saturday coming home via Union Station - the bathrooms there are the WORST! I haven't had to go in the skeezy Theater hallway ones yet, but if the main b'rooms are any indication, they're awful.

  7. you should get a merit badge for this.

  8. Each metro station has a bathroom - just ask the station manager. It's not great, but it also saves you from having to pay to re-enter the metro system.


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